Mary Shelley Kept Her Husband's Heart After His Death And Other Stories You Maybe Don't Know


Her mother died when she was an infant

One of the earliest masters of horror, Mary Shelley wasn't just dabbling in the dark when she wrote one of the most important and influential novels of all time. The mother of science-fiction knew what she was talking about when she laid the groundwork for goths everywhere by creating Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus at the age of 18. Her entire life was marred by tragedy, with even her happiest moments shadowed by a gloomy air of sadness. Her favorite place was a cemetery, which makes sense, because she was surrounded by death. She even kept her husband's heart wrapped in a love poem inside her desk. All you baby goths need to get on her level.

Source: Wikipedia

Shelley practically came out of the womb sad, and not just the normal "wailing baby" kind. Her mother, feminist author and philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft, passed away less than a month after giving birth to her, leaving her anarchist father to raise her. Fortunately for him, Thoughts of the Education of Daughters was one of the books Wollstonecraft left behind, alongside 1792's seminal A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Author Sandra Gilbert explains that Shelley only came to know her mother through her work:

Especially because she never knew her mother … her principal mode of self-definition—certainly in the early years of her life with Shelley, when she was writing Frankenstein—was through reading. Endlessly studying her mother’s works and her father's, Mary Shelley may be said to have 'read' her family and to have been related to her reading, for books appear to have functioned as her surrogate parents, pages and words standing in for flesh and blood.